Report says three journalists died in prison camp in northeastern desert

first_img Reporters Without Borders today called on the Eritrean government to urgently produce evidence that three journalists illegally held since September 2001 are still alive, as information from credible sources indicates they died in the course of the past 20 months in a detention centre at a place called Eiraeiro, in a remote northeastern desert.The organisation wrote to the Eritrean embassy in France on 9 October asking the government to provide an explanation “within a reasonable period” about these “very disturbing reports.” If we do not get a reply from you in the near future, our organisation will publish this information,” said the letter, which did not receive a response.“This silence on the part of the Eritrean authorities is inhumane and intolerable,” Reporters Without Borders said today. “Dozens of political prisoners have disappeared into jails run by the armed forces. They include at least 13 journalists, of whom there has been no word for nearly five years.”The organisation added: “We now have extremely disturbing revelations in the report on the Eiraeiro detention centre. No foreign government should continue to have any dealings with President Issaias Afeworki and his government without insisting on serious, documented explanations.”The report on Eiraeiro, located in the Sheib subzone of the Northern Red Sea administrative region, was posted on the Internet in August. It contains precise and verifiable information about the exact location of the detention centre, where at least 62 political prisoners were said to be held, including former ministers, another senior officials, high-ranking military officers, government opponents and eight of the 13 journalists held since a round-up in September 2001. Initially published in the Tigrinya language on 17 August on aigaforum.com, an Ethiopian website, it was translated into English and posted on 31 August on awate.com, an Eritrean opposition site that is edited in the United States. Reporters Without Borders knows the sources for the information in the report, although it will not identify them for security reasons, and believes them to be credible and serious.The Eiraeiro detention centre is said to have been built in this northeastern desert in 2003. An Eritrean journalist in exile told Reporters Without Borders that it is “one of the country’s hottest areas.” To get to Eiraeiro, you reportedly have to walk for two hours from the nearest road, linking Serjeka and Gahtelay, northwest of Filfil Selomuna. Consisting of 62 cells measuring 3 metres by 3 metres, it is said to contain detainees who were previously held in Embatkala, in the east of the country.The prisoners named in the report include Seyoum Tsehaye (or Fsehaye), a freelance journalist (cell No. 10), Dawit Habtemichael, deputy editor and co-founder of Meqaleh (cell No. 12), a journalist identified by the first name “Yosief” or “Yusuf,” who is almost certainly Yusuf Mohamed Ali, the editor of Tsigenay (cell No. 9), Medhane Tewelde (almost certainly Medhane Haile), deputy editor and co-founder of Keste Debena (cell No. 8), Temesghen Gebreyesus, journalist and member of the Keste Debena board (cell No. 23), Said Abdulkader, editor and founder of Admas (cell No. 24), and Emanuel Asrat, editor of Zemen (cell No. 25).An Eritrean former political prisoner now in exile told Reporters Without Borders on condition on anonymity that Fessahaye “Joshua” Yohannes, a playwright and journalist with the newspaper Setit, is now also being held at Eiraeiro, in cell No. 18. He was previously held in Dongolo prison in the south of the country, in an underground cell measuring just 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres, and 2.5 metres tall, lit by a bulb that was never turned off. One of his friends, who said he was held at the same time as Yohannes and who now lives in exile, told Reporters Without Borders that Yohannes was subjected to various forms of torture including having his finger-nails ripped out.They are all part of a group of 13 journalists who were rounded up by the police during the week of 18 to 25 September 2001 after the government decided to “suspend” all of Eritrea’s privately-owned media and ordered the arrest of everyone considered to a member of the opposition.The report says at least nine of the detainees at Eiraeiro have died as a result of “various illnesses, psychological pressure or suicide.” They include three of the journalists named above – Yusuf Mohamed Ali, who reportedly died on 13 June, Medhane Haile, who reportedly died in February, and Said Abdulkader, who reportedly died in March 2005.All of the Eritreans consulted by Reporters Without Borders said the information contained in the report was “entirely plausible,” at the very least, even if it could not currently be verified. An Eritrean journalist now in exile said that when he was held at a detention centre like Eiraeiro in 2000: “Many prisoners held at the same time as me died as a result of malaria attacks or other illnesses. Their bodies were thrown in unmarked common graves. In some cases, the authorities led their families to believe they had escaped or were killed by Ethiopians.”The report contains harrowing descriptions of conditions at Eiraeiro. Most of the detainees are chained by their hands. They sleep on the ground and have no bed linen. Their heads and beards are shaved once a month. Since February, they have been let out of their cells for an hour a day but without being allowed contact with other prisoners. Any attempt to converse with the camp’s guards is immediately punished.Since 2001, Reporters Without Borders and other human rights and press freedom groups have been calling for the release of Eritrea’s political prisoners, including the 13 journalists arrested in the round-up of September of that year. The Eritrean government claims they are being held as part of a parliamentary investigation into “spying” and “treason.”The “suspension” of the privately-owned media came as the second war with Ethiopia was ending in 2001, when the independent press relayed calls for democratisation by 15 senior ruling party members known as the “Group of 15” or “G-15” and the government reacted on 18 September 2001 by cracking down on the G-15 and the opposition. After 10 of the detained journalists staged a hunger strike, they were transferred in April 2002 to detention centres in undisclosed locations. Swedish prosecutors again refuse to investigate Dawit Isaak case EritreaAfrica News Reporters Without Borders today called on the Eritrean government to urgently produce evidence that three journalists illegally held since September 2001 are still alive, as information from credible sources indicates they died in the course of the past 20 months in a detention centre at a place called Eiraeiro, in a remote northeastern desert. November 14, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Report says three journalists died in prison camp in northeastern desert Prisoner of Conscience Since 2001 – Why has Sweden not managed to bring Dawit Isaak home? News Receive email alerts January 13, 2021 Find out more News to go further Follow the news on Eritrea RSF urges Swedish judicial authorities to reverse Dawit Isaak decision April 14, 2021 Find out more RSF_en EritreaAfrica Reports Help by sharing this information Organisation October 27, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Debt Practices and the Downward Poverty Spiral

first_img About Author: David Wharton  Print This Post in Daily Dose, Featured, Journal, Market Studies, News The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Related Articles Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Tagged with: debt Debt Collection Racial Discrimination Racial Disparities Wealth Inequality Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Debt Practices and the Downward Poverty Spiral Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago David Wharton, Managing Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has over 16 years’ experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. Wharton and his family currently reside in Arlington, Texas. He can be reached at [email protected] Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days agocenter_img Home / Daily Dose / Debt Practices and the Downward Poverty Spiral Do debt practices unfairly impact low-income communities? A new report from a four-state collaborative of nonprofits argues that the answer to that question is “yes.”The new report is entitled “Enforcing Inequality: Balancing Budgets on the Backs of the Poor,” and was compiled in partnership by the California Reinvestment Coalition, the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, North Carolina-based Reinvestment Partners, and the Illinois-based Woodstock Institute. According to the report, “problematic policies around both consumer debt assignment and debt collection target low-income communities, as well as communities of color.”The collective of nonprofits reports that “Americans owe more than 26 percent of their annual income to consumer debt, which includes non-mortgage related debt such as credit cards, auto loans, and student loans.” Moreover, the report states that racial wealth gaps lead to non-white borrowers having “more consumer debts in collection, a higher debt load, and more student debt than white borrowers.” Some of the examined states also showed more debt collection actions happening in areas with large minority populations, as compared to areas with more white residents.“The fact that county and state governments frequently use contracted third-party private debt collectors is especially troubling because private debt collectors are not subject to the same consumer protection laws as public debt collectors,” states the accompanying media statement. “Accumulated debt can spiral out of control for consumers who are unable to pay.””The collection of civil and court fines and fees debt can perpetuate a debt trap and a cycle of poverty for communities already disproportionately impacted by our criminal justice system,” said Paulina Gonzalez, Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “California and other states should immediately cease the use of private debt collection agencies to collect on this debt, especially since the revenue gained by this practice is minuscule, and these agencies are largely unregulated, leaving people with few, if any, protections from abuse, further impacting poor people and people of color.”Some of the report’s key findings include:Racial demographics are a better predictor than income on where Maryland’s Central Collection Unit filed civic debt collection cases.Vehicle tickets were 40 percent more likely to be issued to drivers from minority and low- and moderate-income zip codes than drivers from non-minority and higher-income zip codes in Chicago, Illinois.In the city of Durham, North Carolina, one in five residents has a suspended driver license and over 2,000 have had their license revoked or suspended for failure to pay or comply with court costs.The imposition of criminal, municipal, and civil fines and fees disproportionately impact communities of color due to systemic race and criminal justice issues that hurt communities of color, such as higher rates of economic instability, the over-policing of neighborhoods, and higher traffic stop rates. For example, 67.9 percent of the probation caseload, and the relevant fines and fees, in the California Probation System consists of people of color, overrepresented by African Americans.You can read the full report by clicking here.The unbalanced effects of debt collection practices against minority and low-income communities can simply add to the systemic challenges they already face in many cases. An April Zillow report found inequities among homebuying power across ethnic groups. Asian buyers fared best, able to afford 85.2 percent of homes without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. White buyers had the second-greatest buying power, able to afford 77.6 percent of homes for sale. Hispanic homebuyers could afford 64.9 percent of homes available. Black homebuyers, however, had the fewest options, able to afford just 55.3 percent of the homes available for purchase.Another Zillow report from the same month found lingering effects from the decades-past practice of “redlining” certain neighborhoods as “hazardous” for mortgage lenders. Unsurprisingly, neighborhoods classified as “hazardous” very often tended to be those occupied primarily by racial or ethnic minorities, and by the poor.During the intervening two decades, the median home value in those “best”-rated neighborhoods has risen 230.8 percent to $640,238. For the redlined neighborhoods? The same amount of time has witnessed an increase of only 203.1 percent, with median home values in those areas hitting $276,199. July 3, 2018 1,615 Views Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Share Save debt Debt Collection Racial Discrimination Racial Disparities Wealth Inequality 2018-07-03 David Wharton Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Previous: Wells Fargo Gives Boston Homeowners a LIFT Next: Legal League 100 Fall Summit—Sneak Preview Sign up for DS News Daily Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Subscribelast_img read more